Great show impresses ‘grumpy old man’

Review by John Pinchbeck

IT began as a celebration to mark 20 years of the Guildhall Arts Centre – but it became a showcase for local talent.

And That’s Entertainment, staged at the centre last week, excluded the semi-pros of which Grantham abounds with talent; instead it stuck strictly to the amateur groups - singers, dancers and thespians - who actually pay subscriptions to perform.

And if George Bernard Shaw was right when he said: “Hell is full of musical amateurs” then Old Nick will have to look elsewhere for his concert party.

For this was, as the name suggests, pure entertainment with groups past, present and future represented.

It was up to Martin Daff to keep it all together and he even took part in the sketch Hair Today No Her Tomorrow, with Carol Drury, reminding us what a great loss Drama 66 to 93 was to the more experimental theatre.

With such a mega cast it is impossible to pick out any as outstanding, although Grantham Dramatic Society’s Blackadder was as well performed as it was challenging.

But for me, the stars of the night were the youngsters.

The ever-reliable Grantham School of Dance – the first time for years I’ve seen them NOT performing Riverdance – were as well drilled as ever.

But if I had to choose, the prize would go to Star Academy Grantham, for their Sound of Music medley.

It was a precision display co-ordinating song and dance with the promise of a great future for the local scene. It was an enthralling evening all round.

Some years ago, my former Journal work colleague Richard Adams and I, were dubbed ‘the grumpy old men’ by the Grantham am-dram performers for what they thought were negative criticisms.

We haven’t changed - the performers have just got better.